Developing to Spec: Part 19–Martial Weapons to Pinpoint Targeting

This is the all of Part Nineteen of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written) here.

I have a lot going on this week (I hop on a plane at 6am Thursday to fly to OrcaCon… and the airport is 2 hours away, so I’m getting up at 3am or so…), so rather than do two feats a day for four days, I just did eight feats all today! Same content for the week, you just don’t have to wait for it.

We start with maetial Weapon Proficiency, and… dang it, Starfinder doesn’t HAVE “martial weapons” to be proficient in! So we just need to find something warlike a character might like to be better at, without exceeding the highest possible bonus *some* character could have. We don’t want someone investing in this unless it’s going to be an important part of the game they play in, so let’s delay access until they’ve played through the lower levels.

You have learned to master the most martial of weapons–starship weapons.
Prerequisites: Character level 6+.
Benefit: You have special training not only in how starship weapons work, but how to use your class experience to attack with them more accurately. When you fire a starship weapon, you attack bonus is equal to your level +your key ability score modifier. You are also considered proficient with any vehicular-mounted weapon, and gain Weapon Specialization with it if appropriate.

All of Starfinder’s crafting rules fit in one column in the core rulebook. reading through them, we can find some ways we can let someone spending a feat on it be a little better.

Your crafting expertise exceeds mere training.
Benefit: You can craft items with an item level equal to your ranks in the appropriate skill +1. You craft items in half the time it would normally take you. When determining the hardness, Hit Points, and saves of an item you have crafted, you treat its item level as 5 higher than its true level.

Rather than find some weird other combat benefit, Medusa’s Wrath is a place we can just limit the circumstances where you can use the feat, and just hand out an actual numeric bonus.

Those who are unable to react in combat are vulnerable to your fists.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +11
Benefit: If you take a full attack action against a foe that is dazed, helpless, staggered, or stunned, and all your attacks are melee attacks, you get a +1 bonus to the attack roll of any unarmed attacks you make against that target.

Mounted archery is SUPER-specific as a science-fantasy concept, but that makes it pretty easy to find extra options we can give a character that would want this feat, without them being unbalancingly powerful.

You have trained in the ancient art of mounted bow use.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with a weapon that uses arrows as ammunition.
Benefit: When you are riding a mount, making ranged attacks with a weapon that fires arrows does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If using the creature companion rules, any round you are riding your companion and make a ranged attack with a weapon that fires arrows, if your companion has only taken one action, it may additionally make a move action.

Natural Spell is another case where the rules in question from PF just don’t apply to Starfinder (which doesn’t require verbal or somatic components anyway). So, time for another apples-to-oranges conversion that just tries to make an interesting option that would appeal to a player who likes the sound of a “Natural Spell” feat.

You have received xenowarden-like training in using magic to deal with
Benefit: Any spell you cast that could affect a humanoid, can also affect a creature of the animal, plant, or vermin type.

Starfinder DOES have a “Nimble Moves,” but not a “Nimble Steps,” so we need to adapt a feat that’s already been adapted (just renamed in the process). But the difference in the names gives us a potential direction, as well. We can make the prerequisites less strenuous, limit the benefit to just land speed, and even create a synergy

Benefit: When using your land speed, you can move through up to 30 feet of difficult terrain each round as if it were normal terrain. This feat allows you to take a guarded step into difficult terrain.
Special: If you have this and Nimble Moves, you ignore difficult terrain when using your land speed.

Persuasive is just like all our other +2-to-2-skills feats, we need to find some other benefit since we can’t use just bonuses.

Somehow, you can convince others that your actions aren’t as threatening as they seem.
Benefit: The first time you attack a helpful, friendly, or indifferent creature, it’s attitude does not automatically worsen by one step. The first time you use Intimidate to bully a creature, its attitude does not automatically worsen when the bully ends. These abilities doesn’t reset with a given creature until you gain a new level.

Pinpoint Targeting is, by Starfinder standards, broken at any level. So, we need a different benefit… and we had a similar problem with Penetrating Strike. maybe a similar solution will work?

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6, Weapon Focus (any ranged weapon).
Benefit: As long as you have at least 1 Resolve Point remaining, when you make a single ranged attack as a standard action (with an attack to which you can apply Weapon Focus, and targets only a single creature) against a target in your first range increment, your target does not gain any AC bonus from cover (including shields) against that attack, and it ignores any HP and other effects from force fields and energy shields, and any other defensive effect of a shield.

This series of posts about my specific game writing and development process (along with concrete examples and Starfinder feats) is — like all my blog posts — is only possible if people join my Patreon, help me have the free time to write these things, and let me know what you want to see!


About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on January 7, 2020, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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